The Chairman of Dot Com Mob, Robert Magid, talks about how the success of the Indigenous Knlowledge and Technology Centre in Hope Vale, Cape York, Queensland.
Indigenous Newslines is a free magazine on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues which is published quarterly in hard copy and online. It provides information on Australian Government services and programs and includes inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories from across the nation.
The following article covers the success of the Hope Vale indigenous Knowledge and Technology Centre.
Our own place
An Indigenous Knowledge and Technology Centre is a window to the world for the community of Hope Vale in far north Queensland.
At the Hope Vale centre locals can access library books, magazines and DVDs, and music, games and the Internet thanks to 12 computers. There is an after-high school homework club, reading programs for young children and school holiday programs. Around 50 to 60 community members visit every day and after-school activities engage about 30–50 children at a time.
What sets the centre apart from regular public libraries is the relaxed, friendly space that is ‘owned’ by the community, giving local kids the chance to learn in their own setting.
“We have information on Indigenous people, we have Aboriginal art on the walls, we’re engaging with our people to suit the needs of our people,” centre coordinator Shirley Costello says.
“At school you sit at your desk in a classroom to do your work, but here you can do the same work lying on a cushion, listening to music, and it makes all the difference. That’s what we, the Indigenous people, want.
“It’s an old saying by a lot of our elderly people that Indigenous people are fortunate because we can mix in both worlds – our culture and non-Indigenous culture.”
Kids at the centre have become experts at using the Internet, posting YouTube clips, doing karaoke and researching interests such as fishing or football. Older users meet to record their stories and autobiographies, use Google Earth to spot their place in the world, or chat with friends and family on Skype. Others are making their own digital photo albums, calendars, business cards or CVs. “Having that access is a giant leap for a remote Indigenous community,” Costello says.
“A knowledge centre and the Internet help our kids’ self esteem and our people to be more up-to-date with the wider world – you’re looking through a bigger picture.
“I say to other communities, go for it because it opens up a whole new world to your people. Our motto here is that learning never stops. It started with the message stick – we continue today with the memory stick.”
The Hope Vale centre is one of 18 knowledge centres owned, managed and staffed by local Indigenous councils.
It was established with support from the non-profit company Dot Com Mob (www.dotcommob.org), which is helping to bring the Internet to remote communities, and the State Library of Queensland www.slq.qld.gov.au/about/who/orgchart/ils/ikc
Hope Vale is a Cape York Welfare Reform community.
Visit the FaCH
THE Hope Vale Indigenous Knowledge and Technology Centre has made a “huge impact” on the indigenous community in its first year of operation, says coordinator Shirley Costello.
By helping to “narrow the digital divide”, the centre had also boosted educational, employment and social opportunities for residents of the indigenous community, she said.
“It has made a huge impact to our community especially with the realisation that technology is the ‘now’ factor – not only globally and nationally, but now locally,” said Ms Costello.
She said the centre averaged about 50-60 people a day from a cross-section of the community, who used it not only to access to the internet and books, but also as a hub for learning, capacity building and strengthening cultural identity – from being a meeting space for elders to engaging youth who were unable to attend high school in Cooktown.
Children's Picture Diaries 23 to 26 March 2009 was a busy week at Hope Vale with all classes from the Hope Vale State School involved at the IKTC. These sessions included; self portraits – who we are, landscapes – where we live and making prints of what we like to do.
The children enjoyed the week and they were very focused on what they were doing, well done to all the children. It is so wonderful to hear our children say and know that their artwork is in the State Library and hopefully one day they will travel to Brisbane and see their artwork.
Huge thanks to Principal Leanne Rayner, teachers, teachers aids and especially the students. We were also privileged to have our Art & Culture staff to assist us, a wonderful experience of witnessing community artists work with students, thanks to Evelyn McGreen, Dorothy Rosendale, Wanda Gibson, Grace Rosendale and Roberta Bowen.
Mayor Greg McLean also came into the IKTC to encourage and support the students and he states that he would like to see some of the artwork to be on t-shirts, tea-towels and other memorabilia; we will certainly look into that.
From Shirley Costello IKTC Coordinator
The Dot.Com.Mob wants you to check out their new YouTube Channel:
Watch Robert Magid explain the history of the Dot.Com.Mob as well as a selection of other videos by the Mayor of Hope Vale, Greg McLean, the State Library of Qld and videos made by members of the Hope Vale community and uploaded to YouTube.
Please subscribe to our channel, so you can keep up with the latest progress of helping Indigenous people, living in remote locations, have access to the Internet so they might participate in opportunities that simply did not exist before.
The Dot Com Mob is actively supporting the resourcing of technology centres in remote Indigenous communities in partnership with the State Library of Qld. These centres are called Indigenous Knowledge and Technology Centres.
The Internet can help overcome the disadvantage experienced by students living in remote locations and the latest offering from the State Library is an example of this.
The State Library of Queensland has recently purchased a state-wide licence for Yourtutor.
Any member of the public with a library card can log-in with their library bar-code to receive free online support completing homework, assignments or preparing for exams.
IKC administrators are encouraged to promote this free service to members of their communities.
Simply follow the links and choose your IKC location (e.g. Torres Strait Island Regional Council) and you will be placed in line to receive support from a live tutor - a real person!
How exciting to see the Hope Vale community now has its own YouTube page!!
Young people from the community have created a series of digital stories which they have posted up on the page.
Listen to their songs or hear their personal stories which provides a fantastic insight to life in Hope Vale - from a community perspective.
The community page is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/HopeValecommunity
Click on the picture above to see read the full article.